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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently threw a rod in my 99 Sentra GXE. At least this is what every sign points to. I had the car towed from the highway to my house, so it has not been looked at by a mechanic, a few knowledgeable friends have heard my story and had a look and all agree that throwing a rod is what happened.

Scenario: Returning home from out of town, and on the highway about 5 miles from home I have a loud clank, and then repeated THUD THUD THUD coming from under the hood. I turn the car off, pop the hood and look, nothing appears wrong. Turn the engine back on so that I could isolate where the sound was coming from, and after about 20 seconds the engine just locks up and dies. Turning the key after this point has no noticeable effect towards trying to start the car.

I'm in a situation of trying to do a little cost/benefit analysis of having it repaired. I'm leaving the country in about 9 weeks and will be gone for 6 months. I live in a place where I can not go without a car, and because I'm leaving for 6 months I don't really see the logic in buying something new at this point.

I have talked to a local repair guy that I trust and he said if I brought him an engine that he'd do the swap for $500. A local junkyard has 3 engines that would fit my car, and will sell one to me for $650 (with exchange of my current engine).

I stopped by the junkyard today and had a look at the cars.

1st had 55,000 miles on it but most the parts under looked a little worse for wear with rust and so on.

2nd had 48,000 miles and was in better condition. The car wasn't capable of starting today, but the guy said if I came back on Friday he could fire the engine up and let me have a look at it then.

3rd was a '97 sentra with 1700 miles (not a typo, less than 2k miles), The car look liked it hit a wall at 50mph, and the several other parts were cracked including the transmission I believe. They wouldn't be able to get this engine started for me there, but 'strongly suspect that it's fine'.

They'd offer a 90 day exchange on any of the engines, however if a 2nd swap is needed they wouldn't absorb any additional labor costs.

So my gut tells me that I should go with the 48,000 mile one that I can have them start up and I can hear it run.

I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of cars is limited at best.

- If they get the engine fired up and running, is there anything I should be looking for or paying attention to?

- If it does start up, with the scenario laid out above about how my current engine blew out, will swapping it out and into my car likely be the only thing I need to worry about (aka, will it get me back on the road)?

- Would anyone strongly advise against dropping ~ $1,300 into a repair on a '99 Sentra with 120k miles?

Thanks for reading what turned out to be a long first post,


· Registered
2018 Nissan Pathfinder SL
4,298 Posts
Well I hope some engine swap expert chime in here but I do have some comments.

If he has 3 engines I would suggest that
1) 650 is a bit high, tell him you looked on the internet at other wrecker yards try
Then offer say$450, my guess is at worst you will end up at $550

Check that the engine runs and warm it up and check it revs freely, look for Oil leaks.
Check the "check engine light is not on. If it is bargain some more tell him it will cost you more on the install.
What year is this car, there are minor differences.
I would attempt to keep as many working Ancillaries off my engine, ie starter, alternator, distributor, MAF etc.
In other words take the engine with all ancillaries and bring yours back missing at much as possible.
Dont know if you need the ECU because of minor changes because of year difference.

Also there are wrecker yards around here that will swap the parts for you, and still give 90 days, so if the engine is bad you do NOT have to pay again for the R and R.
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